Categories
Entertainment

Sub Pop. Good Stuff.

Lately pretty much every band on my playlist is from the label Sub Pop. What bands, you ask, are you listening to that are or were signed on Sub Pop? Ahh, here they are in order of current favoriteness.
1. The Shins. The Shins are hard to describe or compare to. Very, very creative and catchy tunes and lyrics. Try it. Go on, you know you want to.
2. Postal Service. I guess I am just bad at describing music, but Postal Service is electronic-indie-goodness. Composed of memebers of other bands (informative huh) they are very good.
3. Iron and Wine. Enough commentary. They’re good. Do it.

Other good Sub Pop bands (if you’re still lacking music) are Looper (gone from Sub Pop now), Sebadoh, Sunny Day Real Estate (no longer on Sub Pop… or together for that matter, Combustible Edison (fun lounge music while it lasted) and, well, Pinback isn’t Sub Pop, but they’re on my playlist too.

Enjoy.

Categories
Software

Quicksilver

This will change the way you use OS X forever. Thanks What Do I Know.

Categories
Software

Flash Drag and Drop Quiz

Flash is trying to make a programmer out of me. I took a Java class in college and really did not feel that I was cut out to program. Flash is starting to change my mind. While I’ve known Flash for several years, I hadn’t really started learning Actionscript until about 3 months ago. This is my work-in-progress quiz. It’s all actionscript–only one keyframe (several layers) in the whole movie. Note: I didn’t design the thing… just programmed it.

I think that for someone who is naturally a very visual thinker, Flash is a great way to learn to program object oriented code. You can start off little by little and still get great results.

Categories
Software

Farewell Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is, by far, my favorite browser on the PC, and I’ve used it (previously as Firebird) almost exclusively on my Mac at work for the last 5 months as well but alas, no more. I cannot figure out why, but it is several times slower than Safari on my 1.6 ghz G5. I can have the two browsers open side by side and Safair will have loaded a page with all it’s graphics before Firefox finishes saying “Resolving Host.” So, until something changes, farewell Firefox.

Categories
Design

First Websites…

Remember when you created your first website? My brother-in-law who happens to be my wife’s twin just created his (with a little help and server space from me) here: benreedjohnson.com. I especially recommend the family page where I gained some valuable insight into the childhood of my wife… aside from relating to me personally, it’s funny. He’s also started a weblog tonight… should be interesting.

Categories
Entertainment

Guitar and Video Games

Ok, so there was no guitar, but it’s a great Sunny Day Real Estate (now the Fire Theft) song. Last night and tonight I spent a couple hours playing video games after a couple months of solid work from basically morning until bedtime. It was very, very theraputic. The game of choice? Halo for the PC, 1 vs. 1. I started playing with a bad headache last night and by the time I was done, I felt great! Video games do have a purpose after all…

Categories
Money

Cash – Here to Stay

Saturday I heard a talk show host, rather unsuccessfully, trying to defend his position that a society where there was no cash, only credit cards would be used. I find the idea that this could happen interesting, but I really doubt it would ever happen for the following reasons:

1. Peer transactions. Yesterday I bought a couple bikes off some friends. Unless they had a credit card reader in their house, this transaction would have been much more difficult in a cashless society. How would kids pay for things? Can you imagine a 10 year old with a credit card?

2. Anonymity. People are skeptical of how much the government (or any organization) knows about them. There will always be a legal way to purchase things anonymously– at least there should always be a legal way.

3. Responsibility. Too many people dissociate real money with plastic. Cash is the only way many people actually realize they’re spending their money. Without cash, the amount of consumer debt would probably skyrocket (if that’s possible from how high it is already).

4. Tradition. All other reasons aside, I don’t ever see the day when people outgrow the natural desire to have cold hard cash. It makes you feel like what you worked for is real. It’s what people have done since the end of bartering and old habits die hard.

While technology has taken an obvious foothold in many areas of life and lots things are changing, don’t count on the day that cash will disappear for good.

Categories
etc.

Hardees – Lame as it Ever Was

I don’t have anything personally against Hardees, but I really don’t see how they are in business still… This whole plot to re-invent themselves with the giant burgers made of 100% angus is interesting, but if you can’t even eat it without the bun falling a part or getting so soggy in mayo that the meat slips out into your lap, it kind of defeats the purpose.

Categories
Software

Golden Plates

What are the golden plates of our time? A thousand years ago, if you wanted to make sure information was going to be around for your children’s children’s children, you took out your chisel and started hacking away on metal plates–preferably golden.

What are my options today? I have several thousand digital pictures, a digital journal, a weblog and pretty much every hour of work I’ve done for the last 5 years are all in digital format. From what I’ve read, I can expect a hard drive to last maybe 10 years, CD?s not much longer… what else is there? Are all my captured memories, all my work and all my writings going to be around for my grandkids? Should I stop using a computer and start learning how to etch metal?

Maybe I sound nostalgic, but really… how do you make sure something digital lasts longer than the medium it’s on?

Categories
Software

In Praise of Dreamweaver

Tonight I?ve spent the last couple hours converting a Photoshop image to HTML in Dreamweaver. I read a lot of places where Dreamweaver takes a lot of slack from those who only code in notepad, or who are anti-WYSIWYG editors; personally, I don’t understand this. I started using Dreamweaver back at version 3, before I knew much of anything about HTML. Since then, I’ve never bought a single book on HTML or really sat down to dedicate myself to a couple hours of studying HTML, but I feel I know it as good as most and better than many.

Rather than keeping me away from the code, Dreamweaver has helped me learn it. I’ve almost always used it in the split view where you see both design and code (part out of curiosity, part out of necessity). Being able to see exactly what code is written for every thing I do has helped enormously. I’m a visual thinker, seeing a block of HTML highlighted when I select a table cell helps ingrain in my mind exactly what the code is supposed to look like.

I’ve gotten to the point now where I could feasibly write all the HTML that Dreamweaver writes for me without Dreamweaver, but why would I when I don’t have to? I suppose there’s the argument that it’s more fun that way; and to a point, I’ll agree–sometimes it is more fun. I find however, that when pressed with a deadline, fun is secondary and Dreamweaver helps me get it done faster. I have not had problems with Dreamweaver re-writing my code or re-formatting it (there are settings to control how much, if any, of that it does) and I’ve found that the HTML Dreamweaver writes is generally pretty clean.

Dreamweaver MX 2004 also does a pretty good job with supporting most aspects of CSS. For static sites (do people still make those ;)) the templating system in Dreamweaver is great. Site management is good for that as well (uploading to and from the server, version control etc.) For dynamic sites, I use Dreamweaver to get the basic HTML set and then apply the code.

On the PC, the interface is nothing short of brilliant. Macromedia has steadily improved the UI with each release and with MX 2004, space is utilized almost perfectly. On the Mac, it’s a different story. It doesn’t look bad on a Mac by any means, but you still have the floating panels and you don’t get the tabs to quickly see what you have open & switch between documents.

Needless to say, I’m a fan. I think Macromedia has left very little room for improvement with Dreamweaver MX 2004.